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New Jersey Remembered: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary; Philadelphia Collection 75; October 2005
 
 
painting
 
Newbold Hough Trotter
(1827–1898)
Inlet House, Atlantic City from Brigantine
Oil on canvas, 5 × 14 3/8 inches
Signed at lower right: “N. H. Trotter”
Inscribed and dated in ink on backing: “#COCC/Inlet House A. City from Brigantine/1895–1870–N.H. Trotter”

Newbold Hough Trotter was born in Philadelphia, where he spent the majority of his life. After attending Haverford College from about 1841 until 1845, he worked for the wholesale dry goods firm of Wood, Abbott, and Company and then became a partner in a machinist company, Birkinbine, Martin, and Trotter. He began to pursue his interest in art while still involved in business and may have attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1854; he exhibited there between 1858 and 1887. During the Civil War, Trotter joined the Germantown Home Guards in 1861 and fought at the Battle of Antietam. After the war, Trotter and his brother-in-law started a hardware business. After it closed in 1867, Trotter was free to paint on a full-time basis. In addition to being active in the Pennsylvania Academy, he was a member of the Art Club of Philadelphia, vice-president of the Artists’ Fund Society of Philadelphia, and a director and secretary of the Philadelphia Society of Artists. He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York between 1871 and 1886 and at the Boston Athenaeum between 1859 and 1867.

Trotter was best known for his animal subjects, but he also painted landscapes. His painting Wounded Buffaloes Pursued by Prairie Wolves (location unknown) was shown at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and was purchased by General William Tecumseh Sherman for Army headquarters in Washington, D.C.; Trotter subsequently executed three commissions for the War Department and an equestrian portrait of General Sherman. His interest in natural history led to a commission to illustrate Hayden’s Journal of the Mammals of North America, for which he completed thirty paintings before the project was cancelled for financial reasons.

This view of the Inlet House in Atlantic City was taken from Brigantine, a town to the north across the Absecon Inlet. According to an early history of Atlantic City, the Inlet House was a large structure located on Clam Creek. The same source described the Inlet as “a large body of water at the upper end of the island, where sailing and fishing boats, in charge of experienced captains, can be hired by the day or by the hour. The sail through the bays or out to sea, through the Inlet outlet, is delightful, and the fishing is generally very good.”1 A view of the Inlet House from a distant vantage point on the boardwalk is preserved in a 1909 postal card photograph.2 The Atlantic County Historical Society has an undated newspaper clipping with a photograph of the building that identifies it as the “Inlet Hotel former location of Hyman Shore Dinners from Atlantic City long ago operated by Josh and Max Hyman.” The Inlet House was the site of the famous Captain Starns Restaurant from the 1920s until the ’70s, when the building was demolished.


Notes

1. Alfred M. Heston, Absegami: Annals of Eyren Haven and Atlantic City, 1609 to 1904 (Camden, N.J.: Sinnickson and Sons, 1904), p. 365; see also pp. 31–32.

2. See historic photographs on the City of Atlantic City website, at http://www.cityofatlanticcity.org/historical/gallery/pages/ac_inlet_1909_jpg.htm



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